The Bolts go from landing both the top offensive tackle and center in the draft, Penei Sewell and Creed Humphrey, to another top tackle along with an uber-athletic cornerback in the second.
Let’s get into it.
Round 1, Pick #13: OT Rashawn Slater, Northwestern
What Kiper had to say: “Protecting Justin Herbert has been the theme of the Chargers’ offseason, with general manager Tom Telesco spending in free agency on center Corey Linsley and tackle/guard Matt Feiler. So let’s continue that theme with Slater, who played both tackle spots in college but could move to guard in the NFL. This could be a steal for L.A. Slater is likely to become Northwestern’s first Round 1 pick since Luis Castillo, who also was drafted by the Chargers (No. 28 in 2005).”
Chargers fans have seen Slater’s name attached to the the Bolts more often than any other prospect in this draft. At this point, if Slater isn’t the pick, there’s going to be a lot of depressed fans throughout L.A.
Slater’s physical profile is extremely similar to that of other recent top offensive tackles to be taken in the first round, such as the Browns’ Jedrick Wills and the Bucs’ Tristan Wirfs.
At 6’4 and 304 pounds, Slater ran a 4.91 in the 40 while jumping 33 inches in the vertical and 9’4” in the broad. His tape against 2020 second-overall pick Chase Young during the 2019 season is his best tape and arguably the best tape of any lineman in the draft. Young had no answers for Slater, who rarely showed any sort of struggle in fending off the eventual 2020 Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Rashawn Slater is a OT prospect in the 2021 draft class. He scored a 9.74 RAS out of a possible 10.00. This ranked 30 out of 1108 OT from 1987 to 2021.— Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) March 20, 2021
Slater is one of the top OT prospects in a loaded draft class.https://t.co/6lDu9ZaIuU #RAS pic.twitter.com/5WaeQk1uZm
Slater is one of the few, if not the only offensive line prospect, with true five-position versatility along the line. His ability to glide up to the second level and erase linebackers in pursuit is phenomenal and something the Chargers should covet as they continue transitioning into a move zone-based offense.
When the Panthers traded for Sam Darnold, it eliminated one of their top needs, which may have pushed Slater in their hands at pick No. 8. The Chargers may be forced to select the next top tackle (Christian Darrisaw) should this happen, but luckily there’s plenty of other notable tackles available in the second should they pass on the position altogether in the first.
What makes Rashawn Slater — @rdsl8r — special is his ability to get to the second level & win w/ athleticism— Mike Tannenbaum (@RealTannenbaum) April 12, 2021
Here is a perfect example of how he can immediately improve an offense
Slater had the 3rd highest @PFF run block grade (89.1) out of all 2021 draft eligible OTs in 2019 pic.twitter.com/AfDboFtoAv
Round 2, Pick #47: CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
What Kiper had to say: “I’m not quite as high on Stokes as ESPN front-office insider Mike Tannenbaum, who put him at No. 22 in his mock draft, but he’s a good player. He’s blazing fast, and he competes. Stokes had four picks last season. Cornerback is one of the Chargers’ biggest questions heading into the 2021 season.”
Stokes was one of the first prospect of the offseason to wow scouts with an incredibly fast 40. At his pro day, the 6’0, 194-pounds defender recorded a 4.31 and jumped 38.5 inches in the vertical with a 10’8” in the broad.
As a senior this past season for the Bulldogs, Stokes recorded four interceptions, taking two back for touchdowns, with 20 tackles and four pass breakups. For his efforts, he was named to the First-Team All-SEC team and a First-Team All-American by CBS Sports. In his first two seasons, Stokes recorded 18 pass breakups, a pair of tackles-for-loss, and a sack with a forced fumble.
According to his scouting profile at The Draft Network, Stokes doesn’t play nearly as fast as his timed speed. His skillset also is noted as “best suited in a predominately zone scheme” where he’s able to capitalize on his notable ball skills and vision.